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How long Apple expects all of its most popular devices to last

Apple Device Life Cycle

There’s been a running joke for years that Apple builds its devices to last just long enough to satisfy a warranty or a two-year contract before they inevitably start running into issues, forcing the user to upgrade.

As the proud owner of a working iPhone 3GS and 2011 MacBook Air, I can attest that not every Apple device breaks after two or three years, but that doesn’t mean that Apple expects you to hold on to your devices for much longer.

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In an FAQ published on the company’s website this week, Apple addresses several questions about its relationship with the environment, a topic which Tim Cook and the other executives are very passionate about.

The second question posed in the FAQ is: “How does Apple conduct its Product Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Assessment?” This portion of the is what caught the eye of several publications around the web on Friday:

“To model customer use, we measure the power consumed by a product while it is running in a simulated scenario. Daily usage patterns are specific to each product and are a mixture of actual and modeled customer use data. Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for OS X and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices.”

There are a couple of interesting takeaways here. First, Apple expects the average user to spend three years with an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch and four years with a Mac or an Apple TV before shutting it down for good. Second, Apple has somehow determined that you’re only going to use your Apple Watch for three years, despite the fact that the wearable device has only existed for one.

It’s probably not worth reading too much into this section, but it’s certainly interesting to see Apple acknowledge a lifespan for its products.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.